By Tom Tillison
Florida Political Press
It appears that The Florida Legislature will once again bend to the will of special interests when it comes to addressing the illegal immigration problem in this state. At a time when more and more states are finding the political courage to take on this unpopular issue, Florida continues to err on the side of money and power. Business as usual.
Not that it's all that surprising. In fact, it was easily predictable from the beginning, as was noted by your humble correspondent on January 25th of this year.
The tone was set early on by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a fifth-generation rancher and citrus farmer, when he said back in January, "cutting and pasting the Arizona law is not what's right for Florida."
Putnam believes that illegal immigration is a federal issue and has made it clear that business interests outweigh the rule of law when he suggests the standard excuse that enforcing tough immigration laws will create an employment hole that no one else would fill.
“There are gaps in the workforce when the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent and that exist today with the unemployment rate at 12 percent that have to be filled”, he said.
Sen. J.D. Alexander, a citrus grower who believes the federal government needs to solve the immigration problem - sound familiar? - says, “We’re talking about people who with a wink and a nod from the federal government have been here working, building a family, trying to send their kids to school.”
He fails to mention that the state government has done it's share of winking and nodding.
And in defiance of the rule of law, Alexander also had this to say in opposition to E-Verify, “It just seems firmly wrong to me to take families who have been here a very long time and summarily not allow them to work.” Sounds very similar to amnesty, does it not?
Which leads us to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who promised that E-verify would be part of a Senate bill while courting the tea party vote on the Old Capitol steps....
See Video Here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J56G9sUxp_8&feature=player_embedded
Haridopolos' response yesterday upon the Senate passing a bill that did not include E-verify;
"The Tea Party was not a factor on [immigration, or other] social issues in this session. They just weren’t there. But we got a lot of emails from people saying pass e-verify. But it just didn’t happen. We had more pressure from those opposed to immigration reform than for it."
Interestingly, he seems to forget the hundreds of tea partiers that showed up in Tallahassee on the first day of session back in March. The very ones he's pandering to in the video above. It remains to be seen how many of those "who opposed immigration reform" vote in the upcoming 2012 Republican primary.
As for Haridopolos, he may want to look beyond the Marco Rubio strategy for winning a U.S. Senate race.
So there you have it, Florida. Another year, another pass on addressing the problems of our state. The real losers? The taxpayers of Florida, who pay an estimated $5.5 Billion due to the 950,000 illegal immigrants and 186,000 of their U.S. borne children residing here in the state.
And the winners are the usual suspects, Big Ag, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida, as well as the RPOF, who can rest assured knowing that the money spigot will continue to flow, pouring millions of dollars more of contributions into their coffers.